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Case Study on Chiropractic Care for Chronic Chest Pain

The February 2003 issue of the research journal, The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, (JMPT), published a case study of a 49 year old man who suffered from chest pain. The patient, a music composer, was exercising on a treadmill during part of his regular physical workout routine when he developed a dull and achy chest pain with some difficulty breathing. The patient did not seek immediate help for the condition, thinking that it would resolve on its own.

Over the next two weeks the pain increased and the patient sought medical care. A visit to his internist revealed the patient's blood pressure to be 140/97. He was diagnosed with muscular chest pain, secondary to tachycardia (rapid heart rate) and hypertension (elevated blood pressure). Treatment was a prescription of a combination of anti-inflammatory drugs and beta-blockers. The patient felt that his beta-blockers made him extremely drowsy, and the anti-inflammatory drugs did not relieve his chest pain.

In spite of the medication, most all of the man's problems seemed to worsen. After extensive testing, all findings were deemed normal, and the internist declared that the patient's heart and lungs were healthy. Over time, the patient's symptoms had progressively worsened to the point that the chest pain radiated sharply into his upper back as well. The pain was so severe that he was unable to sleep at night or perform simple activities of daily living without increasing his pain. Anxiety over the severity of his condition also began to affect the patient's emotional well-being, and got to the point of precluding the patient's active employment and most physical activity.

Finally the debilitated man sought chiropractic care. His chiropractic examination showed an increase in many reflexes and the conclusion was that the man had subluxations. Chiropractic care was initiated at that time. After only one session, the man immediately rose to a standing position after the chiropractic adjustment, he then took a deep breath and exclaimed that he could breathe much easier.

The patient was placed on a program of sustaining chiropractic care, initiated 3 times per week. The study showed that the patient responded favorably to chiropractic, obtaining prompt relief from his symptoms. Sustained chiropractic care rendered over a 14-week period resulted in complete resolution of the patient's previously chronic condition, with recovery maintained at 9-month follow-up.